The multifaceted encryption tool zuluCrypt

Slashdot it! Delicious Share on Facebook Tweet! Digg!
Philip Kinsey, 123RF

Philip Kinsey, 123RF


ZuluCrypt is an easy-to-operate graphical front end that is suitable for encrypting files, partitions, and drives with LUKS, TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt, and dm-crypt. ZuluCrypt cannot handle a complete encryption of the entire system, but it is able to scramble system partitions.

Data security in today's world has moved beyond the province of nerds and geeks. For example, users who travel frequently with a notebook and USB sticks want to prevent third parties from accessing their information if their devices get lost or stolen. In addition, government officials are becoming more interested in our data, particularly in airport settings.

Encryption software helps to protect secret and private data. Investigative journalists, whistleblowers, and activists living and operating in countries with repressive regimes depend for their livelihood, and sometimes even their lives, on good encryption.

This means that you must be able to rely completely on the integrity of the software being used. Encryption is the natural enemy of intelligence agencies all over the world. These agencies would prefer to have a back door for every piece of encryption software that is on the market.

The Candidates

TrueCrypt [1] was able to keep its status for 10 years as the go-to software for encrypting files, partitions, and containers under Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The project came to an end under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 2014. The software source code is still available today, and it is regarded as open source and free. Formal recognition as free software under the definition of the Open Source Initiative has been withheld due to legal issues. As a result, TrueCrypt is not included in the archive of large Linux distributions.

Since TrueCrypt is no longer being developed and maintained, it makes sense to look at successors. The VeraCrypt [2] fork, which branched off in 2013 (before TrueCrypt's demise), is considered to be the most similar. This program corrects some errors that were discovered in audits performed on TrueCrypt. As with its predecessor, VeraCrypt integrates a container within a container as desired. This cannot be detected without some effort even on an unencrypted system.

ZuluCrypt [3] is another TrueCrypt successor, and it is the focus of this article. As with the TrueCrypt approach, zuluCrypt is a back end that also supports VeraCrypt, dm-crypt [4], and Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) [5]. The software is only offered for Linux, and it comes with a GNU GPLv2 license. You can execute all functions on the command line and also on the graphical user interface (GUI). You can also build the program yourself. If you only need the command-line interface (CLI), then you can simply leave the GUI out.

Rising Star

The software has become more widely distributed since it became a part of the Canonical archive in Ubuntu 15.10. Since the release of version 18, it also comes with Linux Mint (Listing 1). Meantime, zuluCrypt has also found a place in the package sources for Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Gentoo, and Arch User Repository (AUR). On their website, the developers make all of the most recently published packages (currently version 5.0) for Debian and Ubuntu available for downloading (see the Test box).

Listing 1

Automatic Installation

$ sudo apt install zulucrypt-gui zulucrypt-cli tcplay cryptsetup


After consulting with the developers, the test refers to the advanced version of the future version that will be coming out from the project's Git branch. The advanced version was built with the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) [6]. It corrects some of the errors in the translation and documentation. Ubuntu users should definitely make use of this because the old 4.7.7 version is still installed from the Ubuntu 16.04's package manager. The developer promised that a new and stable version would be available around this article's publication date.

To set up the prerequisites, you should install the packages cryptsetup and tcplay . These packages are not automatically part of the zuluCrypt installation. Even so, the software will not function properly without them. If you are not using a Qt environment like KDE or LXQt, then the package administration will pull in libqtcore4 and libqt4-network . Listing 2 shows manual installation on a Debian based distribution. In this example, it is "Xenial." If you are on a 32-bit system, you should go to the second line and replace amd64 with i386 .

Listing 2

Manual Installation

$ tar xf zuluCrypt-5.0.0-ubuntu-16.04-Xenial_Xerus.tar.xz
$ cd zuluCrypt-5.0.0-ubuntu-16.04-Xenial_Xerus/amd64
$ sudo dpkg -i *.deb
$ sudo apt install -f
$ sudo apt install tcplay cryptsetup

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 5

Price $0.99
(incl. VAT)

Buy Ubuntu User

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content